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Kim Kardashian's Underwear Line Just Pissed Off All of Japan

Kardashian is being accused of cultural appropriation⁠—again.

by Tim Marcin
Jun 26 2019, 12:55pm

Francis Specker/PA Wire (Press Association via AP Images)

Kim Kardashian launched a Kim K–branded version of Spanx on Tuesday. Seems innocuous enough, no?

Well, within 24 hours there was outrage.

You see, Kardashian’s line is named Kimono — get it, because her name is Kim — and that has pissed off a lot of Japanese people.

In Japan, the kimono is considered the national dress and is worn to important events like weddings and funerals. Folks aren’t exactly thrilled that Kim’s “shapewear” — which is basically a 1950s girdle made with 2019 materials — co-opted that name.

"We wear kimonos to celebrate health, growth of children, engagements, marriages, graduations, at funerals. It's celebratory wear and passed on in families through the generations," a Japanese woman named Yuka Ohishi told the BBC. "[This] shapewear doesn't even resemble a kimono — she just chose a word that has ‘Kim’ in it — there's no respect to what the garment actually means in our culture."

Soon enough, people were posting online using the hashtag #KimOhNo. The popular replies to the tweets announcing the shapewear were pretty much uniformly slamming the product. Kardashian, meanwhile, has filed for trademarks on tons of products using the word kimono, which could keep other U.S. brands from using the word.

“It shows extreme disrespect... [the kimono] is an expression of Japanese identity. That word does not belong to Kim Kardashian," Professor Sheila Cliffe, from Japan’s Jumonji Women's University, told the BBC.

Kardashian has regularly been called out for cultural appropriation. She’s come under fire for wearing her hair braids and cornrows. People were also upset when she wore an Indian headpiece typically reserved for weddings to her husband’s makeshift church service. The reality star has yet to respond to the latest controversy over Kimono.

But she did tweet: “Fun Kimono Fact- Kanye drew the Kimono logo.”

So there’s that.

Cover: File photo dated 16/06/18 of Kim Kardashian West. Francis Specker/PA Wire URN:42274799 (Press Association via AP Images)

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Cultural Appropriation